TRUTH EXPOSED: What Bach wants to keep secret
THE day after it was revealed Alex Nation won the heart of Richie Strahan on The Bachelor in 2016, she woke up to a tornado of hate.
"ALEX NATION, THE MOST HATED WOMAN IN AUSTRALIA," was one of the first headlines she saw that morning in her hotel.
"It was because I robbed Australia of the love story between Richie and Nikki (Gogan)," she told news.com.au.
"At the time, I was on cloud nine because I was in a relationship, and I was finally able to tell my friends and we didn't have to be in hiding anymore.
"Whilst I was super elated and excited, at the same time, and it happened very quickly, I was like, 'hang on a minute, what the hell is happening here'?
"It was brutal."
Producers of the show had gone hard with the "Nikki is the Australian sweetheart" storyline, and Alex, who describes herself as a very street smart and strong person, got the rough end of the bargain.
A favourite pastime of Bachelor viewers, whether it be on the couch or at work the next day, and we are all guilty of it, is to pass harsh judgment on the bachelorettes very, very quickly.
Alex, 26, understands The Bachelor is a show and she has dealt with it, but at times it was tough dealing with all the hate.
"I'm a strong-minded person, and I feel very lucky I know who I am," she says.
"I think I'm a reasonably decent human being, but at times I was really defeated by it.
"When you receive it every single day, day in, day out, constantly in your face, it's hard to kind of brush it aside because you can't escape it."
There are lots of secrets, tactics, methods by the producers of the show and sometimes the bachelorettes - who, yes, know what they are signing up for - are just used pawns in what is a huge reality show machine.
This was confirmed to one of the most memorable bachelorettes in Australian Bachelor history, Laurina Fleure, just before she went on Bachelor In Paradise earlier this year.
Laurina, who fell heavily for controversial Bachelor Blake Garvey in 2014, believes she and the other girls were "brain washed" into liking him, and she has evidence.
"I was very into him because they brainwash you," she said.
"I even had one of the producers say to me before Bachelor In Paradise, 'Don't worry, it's not like The Bachelor where we lock you in a room and brainwash you,' which I thought already.
"They sit you down and say, 'how good does Blake look today?' or 'isn't he gorgeous, isn't he fabulous, you girls are so lucky to have him,' and so on.
"Because you are cut off from society and you talk about him all day, you think you really do like him."
Laurina, 35, says the girls in the house are also swayed by the prize, and everything it brings: fame, perhaps fortune, notoriety.
"There is no lie about it, the thought of becoming the couple at the end, it is a real inspiration as well," she says.
"So a lot of time you are very inspired by that, it is quite ego driven.
"You fantasise about being the one at the end, the princess that is chosen.
"That builds up in your head as well."
This year, the bachelorette who was probably the breakout star had to be Sydney's Cass Wood, who had been on dates with Nick "The Honey Badger" Cummins before the show started.
You could almost see the producers rubbing their hands with glee when she arrived in the limo, having no idea she was about to run into Nick, who she had real feelings for.
She was the girl in the beginning everyone in Australia was unfairly making fun of, but she believes things turned around for her.
"The first couple of weeks were really tough," Cass said.
"I think I was portrayed as not myself.
"People were saying I was a 'stage five clinger' and going online and seeing that wasn't nice.
"But I kept really positive throughout the whole thing and I had great people around me and I tried to ignore that, as I knew it wasn't true.
"I was hoping it got better and it really did.
"It completely changed around, and people saw how genuine and loving I was, and that was really nice and I got lots of support."
What made it harder for Cass, 24, was that she was heartbroken.
She really thought Nick was the one.
She dismisses reports that they are now together as "fake news".
"I'm glad I did the show, because first of all it made me grow as a person, because it was one of the hardest things to go through," she said.
"He was always the one that got away from me in the real world, and I kind of got my answer from him when he let me go on the show.
"I got an answer, and that is a good thing."
Despite some of the tactics of producers, Alex, Laurina and Cass look back positively on their experience and are thankful for the show.
"It's a wonderful experience doing a reality show, it's a money-can't-buy experience," Laurina said, and the other girls back her up.
There is no doubt about it, The Bachelor has a huge success rate when it comes to love - think Tim and Anna, Sam and Snez, and Matty J and Laura - compared to that other dating reality show, Married At First Sight, which has a big fat zero on the relationship report card.
In our news.com.au Bachelor expose, Alex, Laurina and Cass revealed some more secrets.
WHAT YOU DON'T SEE IN THE COCKTAIL PARTIES
The famous cocktail parties are actually very boring. Laurina said makeup starts at 8am in the morning, and the cocktail party doesn't kick off until early evening, about 7pm. "There is a lot of waiting around," she said. "The whole day is about getting ready." Alex said during these times waiting around she just watched Netflix and ate as there was nothing to do.
WHY ALEX AND RICHIE REALLY BROKE UP
Alex revealed it was distance and the constant pressure of satisfying the public and having a public relationship that broke her and Richie up.
"For Richie and I, it was particularly hard, because our whole relationship was long distance, inevitably that was where we fell apart," she said.
"We had internal as well as external pressures.
"There were articles saying we had broken up, then we were getting married, or having a baby.
"Then we went quiet on social media because things went quiet in our relationship, and we had everyone speculating which put more pressure on us.
"The good thing about Richie and I is that we did communicate. But a relationship breakup is hard anyway, and you want to go through your emotions privately, but we couldn't escape that."
Alex then got into a relationship with a woman named Maegan Luxa; the pair split earlier this year.
There are whispers both she and Richie will appear on the next season of Bachelor In Paradise, but she won't confirm anything about her relationship status.
CASS KNOWS SAM FROST
Cass actually has worked on the set of Home And Away as an extra the past few years, and knows former Bachelorette Sam Frost. "I've met her and she is lovely," she said. "I did ask her a few questions before I went in, but I couldn't tell her because it was confidential."
REAL STORY BEHIND 'DIRTY STREET PIE' MOMENT
Laurina revealed she was actually really drunk when she uttered the now famous television one liner "dirty street pie" after being taken to a pie shop for a date with Blake Garvey in Sydney.
"They gave me a lot of alcohol that day and it just came out," she said.
"I didn't mean it as in the street was dirty, just the fact it was junk food. I was actually being really tame.
"I was livid and so pissed off as he drummed into me we were going somewhere special.
"I went and had a guy, then I came back and composed myself."
ALEX'S OFFER KNOCKED BACK
Alex offered to counsel the girls in Matty J's season before it began about how to deal with the pressures of being on The Bachelor, but the offer was knocked back because of confidentiality.
"I felt like they didn't prepare you enough for what can happen, so I contacted (production company) Warner Bros before Matty J's season and said I think it would be great to get someone in there like myself to sit with the girls before they go in, and tell them about the reality and what can happen.
"But I think because of confidentiality reasons, they couldn't do it."
- Luke Dennehy is a Melbourne based journalist. Follow him on Twitter @LukeDennehy
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